How to Check if a Phone Number is Active

Invalid user data is typically a strong indicator of fraud, abuse, or low quality accounts. Phone number intelligence by IPQS can enrich a phone number with risk information including if the number is currently active or has been disconnected.

Check if a Phone Number is Disconnected or Invalid

Want to check if a phone number is realNeed to see if a phone number is active?

IPQS provides a real-time phone validation service to check if a number is real and active. Take advantage of global phone number intelligence to check if a phone number is real while also enriching the number with identity data. Phone number reputation checks also produce a fraud score to detect VoIP numbers and suspicious numbers associated with abuse.

Phone Number Validation

The ability to see if a phone number is active is useful to consumers but even more so to companies that rely on phone numbers to prioritize leads, or perform risk scoring for users and payments. Manually verifying numbers takes a lot of time and creates friction for new users or payments.

This service can also protect against the occasional typo that customers may enter when quickly trying to checkout or create an account.

If you are one of the many consumers or companies that land here in search of how to check if a phone number is active, continue on as in this guide, we share how you can automatically verify phone numbers while also analyzing the phone number reputation and history.

Checking if a Phone Number is Active

Most companies spend hours per day trying to reach inactive or deactivated numbers. IPQS can help improve this process by performing a real-time active phone number check during signup, registration, checkout, or a simple lead form submission.

Our phone validation service will first perform a phone provider lookup, then ping the carrier's network to determine if the customer or lead's number is currently in service. Sometimes additional details can also be retrieved such as if the phone is turned off, if the line is currently disconnected, or if the number belongs to a virtual (VoIP) service.

Difference Between Active and Inactive Phone Numbers

Before we dive in on how to check and verify if a phone number is active, let us first explain the two:

  • Active numbers can be reached when you call them, typically these numbers will either be answered or will go to a voicemail or continue to ring, text messages sent to numbers that are active will be marked as Delivered.
  • Inactive numbers cannot be reached when called, dial tones/automated messages often greet those that call a number with no service, sending a text to an inactive phone number will result in it not being delivered, and a follow-up, error-delivery prompt will likely follow.

Start Validating Phone Numbers

How Phone Numbers Become Active or Inactive

All numbers are inactive until a carrier issues one to a consumer, at which point, the number is activated and able to receive calls.

Let us first cover the basics.  Before a number is issued, a phone carrier first picks a number in a pool from recently deactivated numbers or new ranges that are not yet allocated.

At times, a person may switch carriers for better rates, service, or promotions and may keep the number from their old plan. This service is called "porting", which is when the old number is transferred to a new carrier.

Porting a number from one carrier to another is not always possible, if this is the case, the number will be abandoned by the owner and deactivated by the phone carrier who will then give it to another user.

Active numbers that are not ported and left behind will be active again once it is assigned to new customer, similar to how a carrier activates the new number a person receives when switching to them.

Types of Phone Numbers

Aside from non-assigned numbers, there are other types of numbers that can be inactive too. Fake numbers often uses non existent prefixes or number ranges in an attempt to look like a legitimate number.

Fake phone numbers are a nuisance for consumers and companies, which is why our fake phone number detection service is used by thousands of users each month.

Detecting a fake phone number can often be done by assessing the number itself, so if you see a number like 555-5555 or 123-456-7890, you can assume it is likely a fake number provided by a scammer or fraudster. However some frausters will use much more thoughtful tactics that only a phone validation solution can accurately analyze.

Fun fact: In 1994, phone services reserved numbers 555-0100 through 555-0199 to use on the radio/television, these numbers will never be available to consumers and will only be used in literature or commercials.

Reasons to Check if a Phone Number is Active

Given all we covered above, you may need to check if phone numbers are active to reach clients or prospective leads and analyze user & payment quality.

There is a range of downsides for people, and especially companies, that do not verify phone numbers.

First of all, fake or inactive numbers in a call or client list mean you will waste time, effort, and money on placing calls to numbers that are not active or do not exist. 

This can be a burden on a company, and most so for small businesses that need to make the most of what minimal resources they have on hand.

Some good news, though, we have solutions to combat the harm and financial burden inactive numbers pose to companies, our phone verification tools can help users find out if a phone number is active in addition to services that can check phone numbers in batches.

Some clients may also need to check the National Do Not Call Registry (DNC) to see if a number can be contacted. Client lists should be assessed often for accuracy as thirty percent of client data changes from year to year, making the process of checking and scrubbing data a never-ending challenge.

Furthermore, a hundred thousand numbers are reassigned daily with thirty million disconnected yearly so regularly checking phone number lists is recommended at least a few times per year.

Before we go further on how to check if a number is active, let us first cover some of the ways inactive numbers make it into databases, keep an eye on these to help keep them at a minimum going forward.


How to Check if Phone Numbers are Active

In the good ole days, one would pick up the phone and dial a number to see if it was active or not.

This may still work for those with time and money to spare but for companies, manually dialing numbers is risky since calling numbers registered on the DNC may lead to thousands in fines enforced by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which restricts automated marketing calls to DNC-listed numbers. IPQS provides a comprehensive DNC TCPA scrubbing service which checks the federal DNC and 12 state do not call lists.

IPQS provides a suite of tools such as our free phone number lookup which can also be integrated with our phone validation API that makes validating numbers an automated task as the user enters their information on your website.

The IPQS API for phone validation lets users verify data from web forms at the precise time of entry, and our phone number intelligence solutions let us give accurate fraud scores without false-positives, so you can make the best decision in your own business logic.

Another advantage to the phone validation API is that not only does it provide if the number is active, inactive, or disconnected — but also determines if a number is registered in the National Do Not Call Registry (DNC), which gives businesses a wealth of information while only making 1 API request.

With our API for validating phone numbers, you will save time and enjoy easy-read reports that let you sort data the way you wish to read it.

Need to verify or validate phone numbers in bulk?

Want to check if a number is a mobile or landline number?

No problem, here at IPQS, we define industry standards as opposed to meeting them and offer levels of protection and peace of mind our competitors can only strive to match.  Our phone number validation services and fraud prevention solutions can swiftly identify inactive numbers and fraudulent behaviors so your business can streamline workflows and minimize the high risks posed by modern-day fraudsters.

Companies we support also enjoy bulk phone number validation where they can verify large volumes of numbers in no time, and with us giving over fifteen data points, including IP addresses, email addresses, physical addresses, and more, you can get tons of useful data on numbers from all carries and countries.

Validating Phone Numbers

Validating users with a phone number is a good way to understand the quality of a user, lead, or transaction.

Phone verification is often the best first line of defense for preventing abuse and fraudulent behavior. These tools can be quickly deployed with our phone number verification API or reverse phone number lookup, which provides phone number reputation and precision line type classification, including:

  • Landlines.
  • VOIP numbers.
  • Virtual numbers.
  • Mobile/Wireless numbers.
  • Toll-free numbers.

We are often named the best way to see if a phone number is active as we cover all carriers, including:

  • MTN
  • AT&T
  • Airtel
  • Sprint
  • Bharti
  • Orange
  • Verizon
  • Vonage
  • T-Mobile
  • Vodafone
  • Telefonica
  • Metro PCS
  • Onvoy/
  • and hundreds more.

Industry-Leading Solutions for Verifying if Phone Numbers are Real and Active

IPQS is trusted by thousands of companies each month since our #1 priority is providing accurate data and friendly customer service. This objective extends to our phone number validation solutions along with all of our user validation tools.

Take advantage of enterprise-grade data quality with an extensive amount of data that can enrich any phone number:

See if a phone number is active and give us a try to help your lead scoring, prospecting, and user validation.

Verify a line is active, see if a phone number is disconnected, batch check phone numbers using an API, and much, much more with our suite of affordable solutions that services all countries and carriers.

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